Land Suitability Assessment for Sorghum and Maize Crops Using a SLA and GIS Approach in Dera Wereda, ANRS, Ethiopia

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Ebrahim Esa

Abstract

The land suitability evaluation for sorghum and maize found in the study area has been done in order to define the land fitness for specific land uses as well
as estimating the possible increase of crop production after improving land management. Sorghum and maize are cereals that are considered in the suitability
appreciation using GIS to match the suitability for two crops based on their biophysical requirements and the characteristics of land in Dera wereda.
The methodology employed combines land quality attributes that most influence crop suitability and biophysical requirements of selected crops for analysis.
The suitability assessment for both crops was conducted using the method as described in FAO guidelines of land evaluation for rainfed agriculture. The
results of the weighted overlay for biophysical suitability evaluation using the Simple Limitation Approach (SLA) identified that about 40.25%, 59.75%, and
70.67%, 27.36% of the total area of land in the wereda was evaluated as a moderately and marginally suitable for sorghum and maize production, respectively.
However, only small patches of the area were weighted as highly suitable and not suitable for maize production. As a result, the largest proportion
of the land was only moderately suitable for maize (70.67%), but marginally suitable for sorghum production (59.75%) in the wereda. Therefore, a GIS
based approach for evaluating land in terms of potentials and constraints as a useful tool in assessing land for sustainable agricultural planning cannot be
overlooked in this study.

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